The Latest Releases out of the Howlin' Dog Studio
This double CD is from one night of recording, at a place that is very dear to the Rifters' hearts (and many others hearts as well) – the little ghost town of Uptop, up on top of Old La Veta Pass.
“So what and where is Uptop? It’s a lively ghost town, or as Don says in the introduction to the second set, sort of an “alternate reality”, perched up on top of the old road over La Veta Pass, between Ft. Garland and Walsenburg, just off of Hwy 160 in south- central Colorado. One of the buildings in the little settlement used to be a dance hall back in the early to mid 1900’s - a century when the sawmills were buzzing up there. The old dance hall, with huge tumbleweeds hanging over the dance floor, just seems to really want some music to once again make the walls sing, and some boots and shoes to once more polish the wooden floor. And we Rifters folks are more than happy to oblige! The owners ‘Sam’ (Dianne) Law and her sister Deb Lathrop (Mayor and Queen of Uptop, respectively) have invited us up to play an annual dance/concert for many years, and it has become one of our favorite events of the year. Sam and Deb felt like this wonderful gathering should be immortalized with a commemorative live CD, and we thought that sounded pretty cool, too! So on August 26th, 2017 we recorded our entire performance. It’s full of requests, and spur of the moment inspiration, with a bunch of good Uptop energy thrown in – and it’s still got a few rough edges – pretty much just like it happened. We hope you enjoy it, and if you were there when it happened, we hope it takes you back to the cool, crystalline air moving through the aspens, with the brilliant stars over the Spanish Peaks shining down, and the smiling faces of good friends. Long live Uptop!”
Dave Miller traveled the North American continent as the leader of the "hillbilly rock fusion" band Gumbo back in the 1970s and 80s, enchanting and entertaining audiences everywhere with his ready wit and warm expression of a kind of Ozark-bred joy and wonder. He spent a few decades achieving great success in business and personal development, but the music never left, as is usually the case when it comes from the heart and soul. He's been saving it up, and fortunately for all his listeners and fans, it's all coming out, both with his previous release of "Just Flow", his heartfelt tribute to his dear friend and bandmate Pat Hooper, and in this solo release, co-produced with Howlin' Dog Records Don Richmond.
It has the blend, width and depth that Gumbo fans used to love, and more - featuring a fine blend of both an acoustic back porch vibe and driving electric guitars, featuring Richmond and Dave's old Gumbo bandmate Robear Bosdorf. There are great open-hearted love songs and wry observations of southern culture, and most important, that twinkle in the eye that everyone who ever saw Dave perform will remember.
This musical journey began some years ago when my great friend and long-time picking pal, Pat Hooper, and I decided to take some of our original tunes into the studio and pull together a record that reflected the joy we always found in playing and singing together. We began working with Davis McCain at Memphis’ iconic independent studio, Easley/McCain, where we captured the rhythm, bass, and lead vocal tracks for the songs. Then tragically, on April 2, 2014, Pat passed away.
Carmen “The Ace” Acciaioli is known far and wide as one of the premier pedal steel players performing today in the country and Americana music scenes. Many folks know him as an integral member of Michael Hearne and South by Southwest, playing steel and fiddle, and he is now performing with the wildly popular Texas panhandle band Cooder Graw on fiddle and mandolin. Carmen is also a very active studio player, having graced many Howlin' Dog Records productions with his classic steel playing and exquisite sound.
Last year Carmen decided he wanted to try his hand at an all instrumental Christmas CD featuring his trademark steel guitar sound, and as usual, as in everything Carmen does, the result is about as close to perfection as you can get. Inventive and creative arrangements and impeccable playing make this a remarkable work of art, and a great addition to anyone's library of Holiday music. We're honored to feature it here and help get the word out – see what you think!